The voice in the wilderness (Mk 1:3-1:3)

“He is the voice

Of one crying out

In the wilderness.

‘Prepare the way

Of the Lord!

Make his paths

Straight!’”

 

φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ Ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν Κυρίου, εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ,

 

Just as in Matthew, chapter 3:3, Mark has this citation from Isaiah about John the Baptist.  Both Mark and Matthew have this exact same quotation, word for word from Isaiah, chapter 40:3.  John, chapter 1:23, and Luke, chapter 3:4, have this very same quotation.  John used it as an explanation of who John the Baptist was.  Originally in Deutero-Isaiah, this was about preparing a new path or a way out of the Exile, just as there was the path of the Exodus.  In this wilderness or desert, they were to make a straight path, like a highway for God or the holy way to prepare a path for Yahweh.  However, it is clear that John the Baptist was the messenger being sent ahead.  He was a voice crying out in the wilderness (Φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ) to prepare the way of the Lord (Ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν Κυρίου,).  He was going to make the paths straight (εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ).  Clearly, there was a connection between John the Baptist and Isaiah the prophet.

Third narrative

This third narrative centered around a variety of miracles and various comments to his disciples.  Jesus cured the leper before great crowds, but then told him to keep it a secret.  Then he cured the centurion’s paralyzed servant at Capernaum.  This Roman soldier understood the role of authority since he had faith.  Jesus chastised the failure of the sons of Abraham but healed the Roman centurion’s servant.

Jesus also cured other sick and possessed people, including Peter’s mother-in-law.  He thus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah.  He had some scribe followers, even though Jesus was homeless.  Was the death of a father enough to disrupt a disciple?  During a stormy boat ride, they woke up Jesus.  Thus, he responded by showing them his power by calming the storm.

Jesus cured the two possessed demoniacs who were calling out to him as the Son of God.  These demons wanted to be pigs, so that they died in the sea, jumping off a cliff.  However, the herdsmen in the city were upset so that the people asked Jesus to leave.

Jesus then went home and cured a paralytic.  Did Jesus blaspheme?  What was the difference between sin and sickness?  The people were amazed at his powers.  Jesus then called Matthew, the tax collector.  Jesus hung out with these tax collectors and sinners, so that the Pharisees complained.  Jesus responded by asking if well people needed doctors?  Then there was a citation from Hosea about mercy.

The Pharisees wanted to know why his disciples were not fasting, but the disciples of John the Baptist were.  Jesus explained that there would be no fasting while he, the bridegroom, was present.  You did not use old cloth to mend clothes or put new wine in old wineskins.

Then Jesus cured the woman with hemorrhages, because she was a woman of faith.  Then he cured the dead girl who was only sleeping.  He cured the two blind men because they were believers also.  He cured the mute person so that he could speak again.  The Pharisees questioned the power of Jesus.  However, Jesus had compassion for the sheep because there would be a need for many laborers at the harvest time.

Then Jesus began his apostolic talk to his disciples, in particular about the authority of the twelve disciples, with four major apostles.  Matthew then listed the twelve apostles that would be sent to the Jews and what their work was.  Jesus told them what to bring with them and where to stay.  He told them how to enter a house.  Those unhospitable towns who did not accept them would be punished.  These apostles should be like wise simple sheep.  When they would be persecuted, the Holy Spirit would speak through them.  They would be involved in family disputes and hated.  Both the teacher and his disciples would suffer, but they should not be afraid.  They should proclaim the message.  They were to worry about their souls, since they had more value than sparrows.  They should acknowledge Jesus whether in peace or with the sword.  Who was worthy of Jesus?  You had to pick up your cross and lose your life to find it.  Receive Jesus and be a prophet as the righteous disciple of Jesus.

Who is the Lord for David? (Mt 22:43-22:45)

“Jesus said to them.

‘How is it then

That David,

Inspired by the Spirit,

Calls him Lord?

Saying.

‘The Lord said

To my Lord.

‘Sit at my right hand,

Until I put your enemies

Under your feet.’

If David thus calls him Lord,

How can he be his son?’”

 

λέγει αὐτοῖς Πῶς οὖν Δαυεὶδ ἐν Πνεύματι καλεῖ αὐτὸν Κύριον λέγω

Εἶπεν Κύριος τῷ Κυρίῳ μου Κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου ἕως ἂν θῶ τοὺς ἐχθρούς σου ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν σου;

εἰ οὖν Δαυεὶδ καλεῖ αὐτὸν Κύριον, πῶς υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ἐστιν;

 

There is something similar in Mark, chapter 12:35-37, and Luke, chapter 20:41-44, almost word for word.  Jesus said to these Pharisees (λέγει αὐτοῖς).  What did David mean when, inspired by the Spirit, he called the future Messiah, a son of David, “Lord” (Πῶς οὖν Δαυεὶδ ἐν Πνεύματι καλεῖ αὐτὸν Κύριον λέγω).  Jesus then cited Psalm 110:1, where David said that the Lord said to his Lord to sit at his right hand (Εἶπεν Κύριος τῷ Κυρίῳ μου Κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου).  He should sit there until he put all his enemies under his feet (ἕως ἂν θῶ τοὺς ἐχθρούς σου ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν σου).  Jesus then posed the big question.  How can David call the Messiah Lord (εἰ οὖν Δαυεὶδ καλεῖ αὐτὸν Κύριον) if he is the son of David (πῶς υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ἐστιν)?  This is a trick question.  Why would David call his future son or descendant his own Lord, master, or greater than him?  The response was that Jesus, the Son of Man, and descendant of David, was greater than David.  Peter repeated this citation of Psalm 110 in his preaching in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2:34-35, also.

The prophecy of Isaiah (Mt 21:13-21:13)

“Jesus said to them.

‘It is written.

‘My house

Shall be called

A house of prayer.’

‘But you are making it

A den of robbers.’”

 

καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς Γέγραπται Ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς κληθήσεται, ὑμεῖς δὲ αὐτὸν ποιεῖτε σπήλαιον λῃστῶν.

 

This biblical citation of Jesus in the Temple by Matthew, can be found in Mark, chapter 11:17, and Luke, chapter 19:46, almost word for word.  Matthew said that Jesus told them that it was written in Scripture (καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς Γέγραπται) that his house shall be called a house of prayer (Ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς κληθήσεται).  However, they were making it into a den or hideout of robbers or bandits (ὑμεῖς δὲ αὐτὸν ποιεῖτε σπήλαιον λῃστῶν).  This first citation is from Isaiah, chapter 56:7, while the second citation is from Jeremiah, chapter 7:11.

Bethlehem as described by the prophet Micah (Mt 2:5-2:6)

“They told Herod.

‘In Bethlehem

Of Judea.

It has been written

By the prophet.’

‘You!

O Bethlehem!

In the land of Judah,

Are by no means least

Among the rulers of Judah.

From you

Shall come a ruler

Who is to shepherd

My people Israel.’”

 

οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ· Ἐν Βηθλέεμ τῆς Ἰουδαίας· οὕτως γὰρ γέγραπται διὰ τοῦ προφήτου·

Καὶ σύ, Βηθλέεμ γῆ Ἰούδα, οὐδαμῶς ἐλαχίστη εἶ ἐν τοῖς ἡγεμόσιν Ἰούδα· ἐκ σοῦ γὰρ ἐξελεύσεται ἡγούμενος, ὅστις ποιμανεῖ τὸν λαόν μου τὸν Ἰσραήλ.

 

Interesting enough the response from the Jerusalem Sanhedrin was a quote from the prophet Micah, chapter 5:2.  These priests and scribes told Herod (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ) that the place for the birth of this new king had to be Bethlehem in Judea (Ἐν Βηθλέεμ τῆς Ἰουδαίας).  The prophet Micah, without mentioning him by name, had written about this (οὕτως γὰρ γέγραπται διὰ τοῦ προφήτου).  The quote from Micah is a paraphrase of Micah, as there was no mention of Ephrathah here.  Micah had uttered this ode about the small town of Bethlehem, where King David came from also.  Thus, this new ruler of Israel would be from this same place or part of the Davidic bloodline, as Matthew has pointed out.  Bethlehem was in the land of Judah (Βηθλέεμ γῆ Ἰούδα), not far from Jerusalem, about 6 miles.  Bethlehem was not the least among the various clans of Judah (οὐδαμῶς ἐλαχίστη εἶ ἐν τοῖς ἡγεμόσιν Ἰούδα).  The new leader or ruler would shepherd or lead (ἐξελεύσεται ἡγούμενος, ὅστις ποιμανεῖ) the Lord’s people of Israel (τὸν λαόν μου τὸν Ἰσραήλ).  Matthew with this citation, made the clear connection between, David, Bethlehem, and Jesus.